A favorite complaint of travelers involves the cost of airline tickets, with many feeling gouged by carriers. Turns out profit margins for airlines is actually much thinner than most would expect, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal's Scott McCartney asked US Airways and consulting firm Oliver Wyman to crunch the expenses of a hypothetical flight of 100 passengers, each of whom is paying an average $146 fare for a domestic flight, with $18 in fees and add-ons.
And this is the way it breaks down: The biggest expense is fuel, which accounts for about 29 percent of costs. Next comes personnel at 20 percent. After that 16 percent goes to "ownership costs'' (buying and leasing planes), 14 percent to federal taxes and security fees, 11 percent for maintenance, and 9 percent for "other,'' which includes things like catering and "free'' drinks offered to passengers, compensation to bumped passengers, paying to deliver -- or replace -- lost luggage, airport gate and ticket counter rental fees, and advertising and legal fees.
So when you do the math, that leaves a profit of about 1 percent.